tv NBC Nightly News NBC December 13, 2013 5:30pm-6:01pm PST
we'll see you at 6:00. >> hopefully, we'll both be here. our broadcast tonight, once again there's been a shooting at a high school where a gunman suddenly opens fire. jarring scenes from colorado tonight of students lined up and frisked at their school. we'll have late details. stunning disclosures about an american who disappeared seven years ago in iran. we now know he was on a mission for the cia. storm warnings. with with a gathering system across a huge part of this country, a travel mess ahead for 20 states from the midwest right on through new england. and the amazing journey to the end of the earth for a british prince and wounded american veterans. the word is -- mission accomplished tonight at the south pole. "nightly news" begins now. good evening.
it's another one of those scenes that makes you wonder what's become of us. a shooting at a school in colorado two weeks before christmas. one day away from the newtown anniversary. a teacher was apparently targeted today. two students shot. the gunman dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. it happened at arapahoe high school in centennial colorado. during the campus lockdown, students were lined up on the running track and patted down by police at their own school. the school is 16 miles, give or take, from aurora, colorado, the scene of the movie theater shooting and ten miles east of columbine. we begin tonight with nbc's tom costello who grew up there and graduated from arapahoe high school. good evening. >> reporter: that's my high school. 2,200 kids go to school there. a short drive to columbine high school. after lunch the student came in with a shotgun looking for a teacher. the teacher escaped but two students were shot.
just after 1:00 denver time in a scene gut wrenchingly familiar and only ten miles from colu columbine high school, hundreds of students leaving with their hands in the air as heavily armed deputies on the school's roof inside the building going room by room searching for students. >> confirming that we are not evacuating more students. >> reporter: just minutes earlier, student jack berning was in class. >> and then we heard gunshots, one, two, three. everyone looked at each other and we kind of knew it was real. i don't know. there were more gunshots happening. then they stopped and i heard a woman screaming. then i heard a man screaming, he went that way, he went that way. >> reporter: a sheriff announced there was one suspect, a student dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound in an interior classroom. >> molotov cocktail found on the subject. >> reporter: we believe the deceased shooter is the only
individual who was armed in the school today and came to cause harm to the students and/or faculty of the facility. >> reporter: two students were shot. a female rushed to surgery. another student suffering a minor wound. the suspect entered the school looking for a specific teacher. the janitor said he came with a shotgun. >> i saw him going into the building. went into the library, called murphy's name and wanted to kill him. >> reporter: the teacher managed to escape. >> when the teacher heard this individual was asking for him, the teacher exited the school immediately. in my opinion was the most important tactical decision that could have been made. >> reporter: an army of officers responded having changed their standing orders after columbine. they rushed in rather than waiting for backup. as word spread, parents also rushed to the scene, terrified and remembering nearby columbine.
>> something you never think is going to happen to you. it hasn't hit me that it happened at my school and my school is now a crime scene. >> reporter: students were texting their parents from inside while teachers put the school on a well rehearsed lock down. the in-school deputy was first to respond. investigators looking into what sent the student off. it is likely to be an unsettling weekend for many in the area. >> as we saw with the last student it's personal for you as well. how sad that the three communities and that tight triangle of geography are now all three of them known in the public mind for shootings. >> reporter: i could see the house i grew up in when the chopper shot widened out today. i got choked up watching this happen where i grew up. i have a lot of friends who are cops and firefighters there. they dramatically changed their response protocols following columbine to a massive multiagency response in the event of an active shooter. they think it paid off today. a lot of coloradans are asking,
why us? why here sn i was there for a mass murder at a chuck e. cheese. why so many cases in colorado or is it a microcosm. >> tom, thanks. along the weekend as the weekend approaches, rather, several eastern states are about to get hit by a snowstorm which is tonight spooling up to travel and make its way up through new england. our meteorologist janice huff is in the weather center with a look at what is expected from this. good evening. >> the storm is on the move stretching as rain from memphis to houston. in the colder air it's changed to snow. north of st. louis into central sections of illinois. as we track it on the computer forecast model, this is 7:00. it spreads eastward with overnight. saturday morning we have snow in st. louis, chicago, cincinnati. in the afternoon it spreads toward new york city, cleveland, washington, d.c. will be on the cusp of the rain/snow line. there will be snow for you. by 8:00 saturday evening, snowing in new york city. upstate new york to boston. that snow will continue until about 5:00 in the morning.
boston will get heavy snow there. five to eight inches. the area in purple, 18 inches across upstate new york and parts of new england. new york city, philadelphia, two to four inches toward the midwest, chicago, five or six inches. some areas of indiana seeing up to eight inches of snow. it will be a mess this weekend as people get out and finish their holiday shopping and getting ready for the holidays. >> a dicey couple of days to travel for folks east of the mississippi. janice, thanks, as always. now to revelations that rippled through the u.s. intelligence community and left one american family feeling they were abandoned by their government. this an unusual unmasking of a top secret mission it was reported that robert levinson who vanished in iran seven years ago had been working on a covert cia mission, one that wasn't even sanctioned by the cia. andrea mitchell in our
washington bureau tonight with more on this. good evening. >> reporter: good evening. the mysterious disappearance of robert levinson has turned into a scandal and a government cover-up the family believes jeopardized efforts to bring him home. last seen three years ago, bearded and gaunt, wearing an orange jump suit made to look like a guantanamo detainee, but a hopeful sign he was still alive for his wife christine and their seven children. what is your message to his captors? >> we will do whatever we need to to bring bob home alive to his family. we miss him terribly. >> reporter: since bob levinson disappeared in iran seven years ago, the u.s. denied he was working the for a government agency including in testimony to the senate intelligence community. today the white house was still playing word games, denying he was a cia employee. >> he was not a u.s. government employee when he made that trip. i'm not getting into more detail.
>> reporter: according to family, friends and former officials he was a cia contractor. his handler, cia analyst anne jablonski running a rogue operation, supposedly without telling her bosses. a cover-up costing valuable leads that might have helped find the missing man. a family lawyer tells nbc's michael isikoff. >> cia sent bob to iran to a mission. he got caught in the mission. after he was caught the cia abandoned him. they left him there. >> reporter: former officials say when pressure from the family forced the cia to investigate, jablonski and two other top analysts were forced out, seven others disciplined and the cia paid the family almost $3 million. still, iran has consistently denied holding levinson. is he alive? >> i should ask this question. i don't know. we don't know. how can we know that?
>> reporter: will iran's new president, rowhani be different? the white house says president obama asked about him in september when they talked. >> they want to show goodwill on a humanitarian basis so they can bring a dad and a husband home, this is the time to do it. >> reporter: much of what emerged today has been known by news organizations which delayed publication at the government's request. when the story emerged the family and government sources confirmed the details yesterday of what they know. what is not known is whether levinson is alive and whether telling the story will do anything to clear up the mystery of his disappearance. brian? >> andrea mitchell in our d.c. newsroom. thanks. tonight the pentagon says a u.s. marine was killed in afghanistan. lance corporal matthew rodriguez from fair haven, mass, was killed in combat in helmand province. corporal rodriguez was based out of camp pendleton in california. he was 19. the death toll appears to be 15 with five more injured from a
u.s. drone strike in yemen that missed its target this week and struck what witnesses described as a wedding party. it was the 24th reported drone strike in yemen this year. in south africa, thousands lined up to view the casket of nelson mandela. more than 100,000 have done so over the past three days. some broke through barriers in the rush to pay respects. on this final day of official mourning. mandela will be buried sunday in his boyhood village. as he's laid to rest his dream of a rainbow nation may be at risk as the gap grows in south africa between rich and poor, black and white. our report tonight from nbc's richard engel in south africa. >> reporter: johannesburg can seem like a prison. the rich, barricaded behind high walls and electric fences. the poor, trapped in a life of squalor.
when julius malema was a teenager, he was in a crowd cheering for nelson mandela. now he's running for president as champion of the have nots. his plan is a radical redistribution. white south africans, just 10% of the population, own most of the land. what do you think should happen to the land of white farmers? >> we must share it. >> reporter: what does that mean? >> they must give a portion of their land to the black people. >> reporter: when mandela was your age, he was quite hard line. then he moderated. do you think you are going to moderate? >> there is no moderating. >> reporter: apartheid is long gone. the problem is poverty. it's in townships like this one where the message is so popular
and that has white south africans worried about their future in this country. on a farm we met nico and his family. white-owned farms like his are attacked frequently. the attackers, he says, are well organized and black. >> the killings, the brutal slaughter of innocent people on the farms. nobody is doing anything about it. >> reporter: many white farmers believe the attacks are designed to drive them off their land. he thinks malema encourages it. >> if you are going to push us in a corner and try land grabbing, we will react. >> reporter: fight back? >> we will fight back. we will take our land back. >> reporter: some white extremists, as seen in this documentary, are even preparing for a race war. enlisting their children in commando camps. [ speaking in a foreign language
] >> reporter: i'm preparing for a war that's coming, he says, learning self-defense and hate from apartheid-era military officers. >> millions of blacks around you, smothering you, killing you. so you have to implement certain systems to survive. >> reporter: mandela spoke of a rainbow nation. with him gone, that dream is at risk. richard engel, nbc news, johannesburg. still ahead for us on the broadcast tonight, prince harry and his mission alongside wounded veterans. tonight the exciting conclusion to quite an adventure in the south pole.
we are going to abide by that. there are families who want to speak out to ensure we remember what happened, who their loved ones were and what they are doing to make change. several weeks ago our national correspondent kate snow talked with one newtown family. ♪ >> reporter: it's memories like these that have made it hard for mark barden, a professional musician to get back on stage after losing his son daniel. >> every minute that passes we are a minute further from life with daniel. that's hard to deal with. >> reporter: he was a kind-hearted 7-year-old who wanted to be a fireman. so a year ago firefighters turned out by the hundreds to line his funeral route. >> there is a saying that time heals. have you found that? >> i still find myself trying to will this all into a dream. trying to wish it was not real.
>> the amount of support is overwhelming. >> reporter: their living room is overflowing with gifts from strangers, but it doesn't take away the longing. >> i guess i really miss his cuddles. he was really affectionate. i remember the night before on december 13th, getting into bed with him. we would read every night. i haven't read a book out loud since. >> reporter: the bardens channelled their grief into advocacy, prompted in part by daniel's siblings. >> james and natalie had questions. how could this happen? why did this happen? we didn't have answers. james just said, i hope this never happens to any other family ever again. >> reporter: many newtown families felt the same way. they traveled to washington and state houses around the country. nicole hockley shows lawmakers a photo of her son dylan. >> this is not a mass number of people.
this is about my child, dylan. it is about your wife, your friend. it affects all of us. >> reporter: last spring they lobbied for an expansion of background checks on gun buyers. when that failed, they stood with president obama in the rose garden. >> we return home with determination that change will happen. maybe not today, but it will happen. >> reporter: in january, jackie will go back to work part time at the school where she used to teach where she'll have to read aloud again. and mark? he just recently started playing music again. ♪ >> reporter: his full-time gig is with the advocacy group, sandy hook promise. >> if we can honor daniel's life, do some of the good he would have undoubtedly done in his life. if we can do some of that for him, we have no choice not to. >> reporter: to mark one year,
prince harry admits it was a slightly crazy mission. a 120-mile trek to the south pole in sub zero conditions with a group of wounded servicemen and women. his fellow veterans. this journey was to make a point about veterans getting on with life after life takes a difficult turn. tonight as nbc's jim maceda reports, prince harry and the wounded warriors have reached their destination. >> reporter: they made it. prince harry and his team joining hands around the south pole itself. >> we have all had photos. all in all, mission success. >> reporter: a success even more
amazing because these are mostly amputees. u.s., british and other veterans of iraq and afghanistan, survivors of life changing injuries. they came a long way. some 10,000 miles flying from london to cape town to novo air base, antarctica. a five-day walk, another flight and a seven-day trek to the pole to raise money for wounded warriors, one of harry's favorite charities. this was no walk in the park. pulling sleds they crossed deep crevices of ice braving frigid 40 below cold. even guide eric phillips, a veteran, could barely keep up. >> really super short of breath. finding it hard to get air in my lungs. >> reporter: halfway there the planned competition was called off.
no longer a race, it became an expedition. one team against the elements with with a royal partner. >> everyone's feeling tired. you have to get used to the rhythm. just got into the rhythm and it's almost finished. >> reporter: for harry sh it was a double win, reaching the south pole and helping to raise money for a good cause. a reminder that he is very much his mother's son. >> princess diana broke down barriers for the way things were done. harry is taking it to another level. >> reporter: today at the bottom of the earth, harry achieved a royal first -- not for himself but for his comrades in arms. >> everyone is so happy. >> reporter: jim maceda, nbc news, london. we are back in a moment with something to remember this weekend.
finally here tonight in light of the newtown anniversary it is a sad truth that the students killed that day are not the only children whose lives were cut short by guns in the last year. at least 173 children under the age of 12 have died from gun violence in this country, according to original reporting and research by nbc news. 79 of those deaths were accidental. 47 children were victims of a murder-suicide. so tonight, as we go off the air and as this weekend's anniversary approaches, we choose to remember all of the young victims. ♪
victims we should remember always. that is it for us tonight. lester holt will be with you this weekend. we'll look for you on monday night. in the meantime have a good weekend. good night. right now at 6:00, a hayward home explodes sending the person inside flying across the room. and scattering debris more than 200 yards. good friday evening. thanks for joining us. i'm janelle wang in for raj mathai. >> i'm jessica aguirre. the man inside the hayward home when it exploded not only survived, he managed to walk out after that blast. tonight the bureau of alcohol, tobacco and firearms is among the agencies investigating that explosion and ensuing fire. nbc bay area's kimberly terry is live in hayward. it looks like something out of a movie that he walked away.
>> reporter: that's exactly what neighbors say as they surveyed the damage today. jessica, we're about six houses from where that explosion happened. neighbors say they heard and felt it and as i just mentioned, once they surveyed the damage in the daylight, they say they are amazed the man who was inside is not only alive, but relatively unharmed. this used to be the front door of this home. an explosion just before 5:00 this morning sent it flying over a bronco and on to the lawn. 70 feet from the house on fairview avenue in hayward. >> i don't know, i've never seen nothing like this. i only seen it in the movies. >> reporter: the man who lives inside was thrown across the room he was in, but firefighters say he managed to walk out on his own. and ended up with only minor scrapes and cuts. >> lucky. very lucky. >> that's a big explosion for you to walk out of there with a couple staples on your head, you're pretty lucky. someone's watchg